Scottish Islands & Highlands

Holiday Highlights

  • Local guides enhance our experience on the isles
  • Explore some of Scotland's most iconic and interesting historical sites
  • Meet local islanders and learn more about traditional island life
  • Stay in colourful Tobermory & visit beautiful Iona
  • Enjoy some of the most scenic rail journeys in Scotland
  • Learn about the final Jacobite Rising at Culloden
  • Steam hauled journeys on the famous Jacobite & Strathspey Railway
  • 14 days from £3,195pp
BOOK NOWTailor this tour for independent travel

Tour Dates:
Friday 6 September to Thursday 19 September 2024

A small group tour that travels through the Inner and Outer Hebrides. Meet local islanders and learn more about life on the isles – this holiday aims to be much more immersive than previous tours. Transport is provided by local companies on the islands and local guides are used where possible to add depth and value.

ITINERARY

Day 1 – Welcome to Glasgow

We meet in Glasgow for a welcome dinner and a 1-night stay. If you've never been to this lively cultural city, why not arrive a day or two early? We would be happy to arrange this for you.

Day 2 – Over to Mull

The West Highland Railway line skirts the Clyde Sea Lochs before journeying through pretty Glen Lochy and passing Kilchurn Castle, a 15th Century ruin at the head of Loch Awe. Our destination is Oban where there is a little time to explore before the afternoon ferry to Craignure, followed by a road transfer to colourful Tobermory for a 2-night stay.

Day 3 – Explore Iona

A day of exploration beginning with a bus transfer to Fionnphort for a ferry over to Iona. This small island is only 1.5 miles wide and 3 miles long – one of the reasons that vehicle access is strictly limited. We travel on foot and have a guided walking tour with a local islander, enabling us to really get a feel for what life is like here. A packed lunch will be included today.

Day 4 – Duart Castle & Fort William

Visit Duart Castle, seat of the Clan Maclean, this morning. We hope to include a private history tour of the grounds to discover more about the castle's inhabitants through the ages and find hidden treasures such as the 'Green Man' and 'Sir Fitzroy's Spring'. Later, take the ferry over to the Morvern peninsula and transfer by road to Fort William for a 2-night stay.

Day 5 – Jacobite Steam

A return journey on the famous Jacobite Steam train today. This 84 mile round trip sees us cross the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite monument. There is time for lunch in Mallaig – derived from old Norse 'Mel Vik', meaning sand dune bay – before we return to Fort William for an evening at leisure.

Day 6 – Mallaig to Uist

Enjoy a relaxed drive to Mallaig for the afternoon ferry to Lochboisdale. The road follows a similar route to the railway so we make scenic stops en route to enjoy the views. On Uist, our hotel for the next 2 nights is located on the coast, a short drive from the ferry terminal.

Day 7 – Barra & Eriskay

A full day of sightseeing with a local guide. Visit the tiny island of Barra via the Sound of Barra ferry, home to Kisimul Castle – the 'Castle in the Sea'. Whilst the Castle is still closed at the time of writing, short boat trips are currently operating around it. Back on Uist, we explore Eriskay – famous for being the site of the film 'Whisky Galore'.

Day 8 – North to Lewis & Harris

We take a scenic drive across both Uist islands this morning, stopping off en route to learn a little more about life here – including a croft tour and talk and tasting at the North Uist Distillery. From Berneray, we board the Sound of Harris ferry over to Leverburgh. Once on Harris, we transfer by road to Tarbert for a 3-night stay.

Day 9 – Historical Lewis

Although part of the same landmass, Lewis and Harris have characters of their own. We head north to Lewis today, where the landscape is flatter and where we find some of the island's most famous ancient sites. We are joined by a local guide as we take in the well preserved Broch at Carloway and a traditional Blackhouse site where we enjoy a soup and sandwich lunch (included).

Day 10 – Wild Harris

Today we focus on Harris, known for its stunning beaches and scenery – the roads wind up and down hills with views of lochs and coastal inlets. Enjoy a morning tour (with a local guide), followed by a leisurely afternoon. Sundays are very much family days on these islands and most businesses are closed.

Day 11 – Back to the Mainland

Morning tour of Harris Distillery before transferring north to Stornoway. There should be a little free time here before we board our ferry over to Ullapool. On arrival, we journey by road to Inverness for a 2-night stay. Our hotel enjoys a lovely location on the River Ness.

Day 12 – Kyle of Lochalsh

Take the stunningly spectacular train ride out to Kyle of Lochalsh and back. This is one of the most breathtaking rail journeys in the world. There is also time to enjoy pretty Inverness on our return.

Day 13 – Culloden & Strathspey Railway

Visit Culloden Battlefield – the moving site of the final Jacobite Rising – where we have time to experience the atmospheric visitor centre. Continue by road to the Strathspey Railway where we enjoy a return steam-hauled journey with a light lunch included, before travelling by rail to the capital for a farewell dinner and 1-night stay.

Day 14 – Farewell

Travel home from Edinburgh independently – or why not extend your stay? There is plenty to see in this bustling city.

Please note, this tour involves a fair amount of walking and therefore requires suitable clothing and a good level of fitness. Some of the hotels do not have lifts and porterage is not included. If you are unsure of its suitability for you, please contact us before making a booking.

Tour Route

Tour route map

Selected Hotels

Grand Central Hotel, Glasgow

The Tobermory Hotel, Tobermory

The Alexandra Hotel, Fort William

Polochar Inn, Lochboisdale

Hotel Hebrides, Tarbert

Best Western Palace & Spa, Inverness

Hotel Indigo – Princes Street, Edinburgh

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • All rail travel as stated in Standard Class
  • Accommodation in good quality hotels on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Local guides on the Isles of Iona, Barra, Lewis & Harris
  • Excursions & entry fees as specified
  • Welcome & farewell evening meals, plus 2 lunches
  • Ferries & road transfers as required
  • Services of a tour leader from Glasgow and throughout the tour

Price per person

Escorted holiday: £3,195
Single room supplement: £920
Deposit for this holiday: £100

Booking form

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